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Controversy surrounding the appointment of a deputy speaker to the National Assembly continues even days before the next sitting, which is scheduled for Tuesday, August 16.
But Prime Minister Allen Chastanet has said he is not concerned about that issue, since it is not a top priority for his government, as there are more important issues that needs to be addressed.
Chastanet said his government does not intend to appoint a deputy speaker anytime soon either, but is still open to the idea of having the opposition Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) appoint one of its members.
The prime minister has dismissed claims of not adhering to the constitution, explaining that a deputy speaker was appointed at the opening of Parliament, but the position has become vacant again.
Former minister Richard Frederick has a different view.
He said in a recent television programme that not only is the government wrong on its interpretation, but he described the government’s move as making a mockery of the constitution.
Castries Central Member of Parliament (MP) Sarah Flood- Beaubrun stepped down as deputy speaker of the House of Assembly following her appointment as minister on July 25.
The constitution does not allow a member of the Cabinet to serve simultaneously as deputy speaker of the House.
But it states if the office of deputy speaker falls vacant at any time, before the next dissolution of Parliament, the House shall as soon “as convenient elect another member of the House.”
No one on the government side of the House can be appointed to that post, because all 11 members are serving in the new Cabinet.
The opposition has made it clear from day one that it has no interest in naming anyone for the post, stating that it is a tradition since 1982 for the government to appoint both speaker and deputy speaker of the House.
If the speaker is not available for whatever reason, a deputy speaker must take charge of the sitting. In the event that there is no speaker, the sitting of the House cannot continue.